There are few bonds that are forged tighter than a Southern boy’s love for his Momma. And this Southern boy is no exception. I am of the strong opinion that my Mom is the best Mom in all the world (it is also a strange coincidence that my Dad is of the strong opinion that his wife is the best wife in the world but, I digress.)
My Momma is the main reason that I am the person that I am. Looking back into childhood and that most horrible age of puberty, Mom really saved my bacon. I was a screwed up little kid (Sally is over my shoulder laughing “WAS? WAS?”)(I don’t know what she could possibly mean by that.)
Anyway, Mom was always there for me when life was giving me lemons. I was a shy, quiet kid. I still am very much so. And at that time in my life, I didn’t understand why my stepdad was so hard on me. I was a child with divorced parents. Not such a big deal to some, but for me, it was devastating. I had a great deal of trouble seeing that I was being used by my father to get at my mother and stepfather.
Living in the small house that we did, on Canyon Road in Raleigh, space was at a premium. My bedroom was actually the living room of the house. Mom spent a lot of time in the kitchen. When I was sent to my room, (a lot) in high school, it was just a few steps past the closed door of the den (where Dad(step) was watching TV before dinner) to the dining room, which was connected to the kitchen with a pocket door. I spent many days of my teenage years on a stool, in that doorway, talking quietly with Mom about everything.
It was right there in that tiny doorway on Canyon Rd. that Mom forged me into the man I am today. She chipped away, little by little, softening my anger at my Dad(step), showing me that he didn’t hate me, as I thought, he actually loved me more than my birth father. I didn’t learn that lesson completely for several more years, but she showed it to me first, but I was not ready to listen.
All throughout my 20’s I repaid my Mom with anguish. I flunked out of Ole Miss, flunked out of Memphis State, and tried to find my happiness at the night clubs and not in my church. I was adrift. Mom says she spent a lot of time prostrate before the Lord in prayer for me during that time. As I said, she really saved my bacon.
When Harry met Sally…no wait, when Jim met Sally, I think those prayers started to pay off for her. The day that Mom met Sally was unforgettable for us. We had come home for my brother, Dave’s wedding. And Sally was the girl I brought home to Momma. When we got there, Mom came running out the carport door to meet us with what can best be described as “googly eyes.” Later, Mom told me, “Jim, she’s the one. I just know it.” Sally and I had been dating for just 2 months. I didn’t even know it myself yet. 19 years later, I guess Mom was right.
Anyway, back to the point. Today is Mom’s birthday. I will not reveal the number, that wouldn’t be polite. I am still amazed at her wisdom, her love and compassion for her family, her ability to make cheese and crackers or chips and dip into something more, and still being able to talk with her about life and the lumps it gives us and continuing to be surprised by her ability to pull me away from the trees and show me the forest.
Happy birthday Mom!! Thank you for being one of the quiet, still voices that speaks to me in the many storms of my life.